Small businesses play a vital role in their communities and the broader American economy. During the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s America’s Top Small Business Summit: Ready. Set. Scale, Suzanne Clark, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, celebrated the dreamers, the doers, and the innovators in the small business arena.

Read on for Clark’s insights on the impact of small businesses, the importance of robust trade policies, and the resources available to entrepreneurs here on CO—.

Small business owners are champions of community

Clark began by recognizing the importance of small businesses, as well as how small business owners understand the profound impact of a job on families and communities.

"Small business owners understand at a really granular level what a job means to a family — what it means to a community,” she said. “A steady paycheck [means] financial security. Support for the family. Dignity. Self-determination. Accomplishment. Hope."

Clark emphasized that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce advocates for policies that allow businesses of all sizes to thrive. She believes that every business should have a fighting chance to prove its value and make a positive impact.

[Read More: Missed the Summit? Watch the replay here!]

Small businesses can unlock opportunities through trade

Trade is a gateway for small businesses to expand their reach and impact. It opens doors to new markets and allows small business owners to showcase their products and services on the international stage. This expansion not only benefits the businesses themselves but also contributes to the overall economic prosperity of the country.

Clark noted that over 97% of American companies exporting goods fall into the small and medium-sized business category, highlighting the significant role of these companies in international trade. These businesses also contribute about a third of U.S. merchandise exports.

Clark emphasized the Chamber's commitment to advocating for a more robust trade agenda that can benefit both working families and small business job creators.

“We advocate tirelessly for a policy environment that allows [small businesses] to create jobs, solve problems, and create more growth and opportunity at home,” said Clark.

[Read More: Guide to Small Business Exporting]

You’re the dreamers, you’re the doers, you’re the innovators. And the Chamber exists for only one reason … and that is to keep you dreaming, keep you doing, and keep you innovating.

Suzanne Clark, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

CO— and the Chamber are empowering small business success and the American Dream

Clark also discussed the role of the Chamber's digital platform, CO—. This platform connects with more than 6 million small businesses annually, providing essential resources to help them start, grow, and succeed. The platform serves as a source of urgent, relevant, and inspiring advice, especially in challenging times, like during the pandemic.

CO— is a valuable resource for small business owners looking for guidance and support in navigating the ever-changing business landscape. It offers a range of tools and insights to help entrepreneurs make informed decisions, adapt to market shifts, and build thriving businesses. Clark's endorsement of CO— underscores the Chamber's commitment to empowering small businesses with the knowledge and tools they need to succeed.

As the keynote speech concluded, Clark celebrated the finalists of America's Top Small Business award.

“Each of these finalists has represented the resilience and growth of the American Dream,” she said. “They’re putting their dreams to work, solving problems, [and] strengthening society.”

In her closing remarks, Clark shared some words of encouragement for small business owners.

“It takes courage to do what you do. It takes sacrifice. It takes grit and determination. It takes ideas and ingenuity if you want to change the world,” she emphasized. “You’re the dreamers, you’re the doers, you’re the innovators. And the Chamber exists for only one reason … and that is to keep you dreaming, keep you doing, and keep you innovating.”

[Read more: America's Top Small Business Awards Gala 2023]

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.